Original research| Volume 100, ISSUE 2, P213-219, February 2019

Robot-Assisted Reach Training With an Active Assistant Protocol for Long-Term Upper Extremity Impairment Poststroke: A Randomized Controlled Trial

  • Ki Hun Cho
    Department of Physical Therapy, Korea National University of Transportation, Jeungpyeong, Republic of Korea
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  • Won-Kyung Song
    Corresponding author Won-Kyung Song, PhD, Department of Rehabilitative and Assistive Technology, National Rehabilitation Research Institute, National Rehabilitation Center, 58 Samgaksan-ro, Gangbuk-gu, Seoul 01022, Republic of Korea.
    Department of Rehabilitative and Assistive Technology, National Rehabilitation Research Institute, National Rehabilitation Center, Seoul, Republic of Korea
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Published:October 26, 2018DOI:



      To assess whether robot-assisted reach training (RART) with an active assistant protocol can improve upper extremity function and kinematic performance in chronic stroke survivors.


      This study was conducted as a randomized controlled trial.


      National rehabilitation center.


      Chronic stroke survivors (N=38) were randomized into 2 groups: a robot-assisted reach training with assist-as-needed (RT-AAN) group and a robot-assisted reach training with guidance force (RT-G) group.


      The RT-AAN group received robot-assisted reach training with an assist-as-needed mode for 40 minutes per day, 3 times per week over a 6-week period, and the RT-G group participated in the RART with a guidance mode for 40 minutes per day, 3 times per week over a 6-week period.

      Main Outcome Measures

      Upper extremity functions were measured with Fugl–Meyer Assessment (FMA), Action Research Arm Test (ARAT), and Box and Block Test. In addition, movement velocities were measured as an index for upper extremity kinematic performances in 6 directions.


      Both groups showed significant improvements in FMA, ARAT, and kinematics (movement velocity) in all directions (targets 1-6, P<.05). However, the RT-AAN group showed significantly more improvement than the RT-G group in FMA and ARAT (P<.05).


      RART with an active assistant protocol showed improvements of upper extremity function and kinematic performance in chronic stroke survivors. In particular, assist-as-needed robot control was effective for upper extremity rehabilitation. Therefore robot-assisted training may be suggested as an effective intervention to improve upper extremity function in chronic stroke survivors.


      List of abbreviations:

      AAN (assist-as-needed), ARAT (Action Research Arm Test), BBT (Box and Block Test), FMA (Fugl–Meyer Assessment), RART (robot-assisted reach training), RT-AAN (robot-assisted reach training with assist-as-needed), RT-G (robot-assisted reach training with guidance force), WAM (whole arm manipulator)
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